By: Vanessa Lim
Illustrated by: Josephine Satyakrama
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Review Date: January 15, 2024
Mama has a secret superpower, and her daughter can’t wait to tell everyone about it in Mama’s Secret Strength by Vanessa Lim. You see, when Mama puts her hijab on, which is a special scarf that she wraps around her hair every day, it is like she receives superpowers and turns into a superhero. Her hijab makes Mama tough, and she can tackle any problem that comes her way. Just like a superhero, she is fearless when she has it on. When she has her hijab on, she can even catch the biggest spider with her bare hands.
Mama has seven hijabs that she feels are her favorites. Each color gives her a different superpower that she shares with the people close to her. Her black hijab makes all the colorful things brighter after a storm. Her yellow one gives her the power of hope in any situation that presents itself to her. No matter what the color, each is very special to her.
The first thing that resonated with me in this story was how Mama’s daughter believed that because of Mama’s hijabs, she had such strength within her that it was like she had different superpowers. She believed each color aided Mama in conquering whatever came her way on a daily basis. Just the thought that her daughter had such love and respect for her Mama that she believed she was a superhero melted this reviewer’s heart. It was pure joy to read a story in which a child elevated their parent to such a level of love and reverence. Children will become engrossed in this story not only because they are talking about superpowers but also because it teaches them to hold high regard for the elders in their lives. This is a wonderful message to teach children of any age.
Another thing that stood out was that her daughter knew Mama so well that even though her mother had many hijabs of all colors and designs, she knew that Mama had seven that were her favorites. Her daughter even had different special powers assigned to each of the seven colors. The one color that stood out the most was Mama’s blue hijab, which stood for the power of protection against anything that might be negative or harmful to her. Her daughter was extremely creative in labeling each color as something uniquely special to Mama.
Something that also needs mentioning is how the daughter explains that when Mama wears her hijab; she notices people looking at her mom funny because of the hair covering. It was sad to read that the daughter noticed something like this happening. Just the thought that Mama found her inner strength to look past any discrimination she might have received from wearing her hijab enhanced the message to children that being different is not a bad thing. We all have different features, wear different clothes, and even have different personalities, so this should be looked upon as something positive and empowering, not negative and demeaning. This was a very strong message that children can learn from at any age.
Quill says: Mama’s Secret Strength is a story of endearment, and a story of how a child sees her Mama as a superhero because of her interchangeable hijabs she wears daily. The love expressed through the daughter’s eyes is priceless.
For more information on Mama's Secret Strength, please visit the author's Instagram page at: instagram.com/vlimherstories/